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24 Solar Terms:The Spring Equinox

(People's Daily Online)    09:06, March 21, 2019

The Spring Equinox, the fourth of China's 24 solar terms, usually starts around March 20. This year, it falls on March 21. The Equinox signals the equal length of the day and night. After the Equinox, the sun moves northwards, resulting in gradually longer days in the Northern Hemisphere and longer nights in the Southern Hemisphere.

Customs

Egg-standing game

Standing an egg upright is a popular game across the country during the Spring Equinox. It is an old custom that dates back 4,000 years. People practice this tradition to celebrate the coming of spring. It is believed that if someone can make the egg stand, they will have good luck in the future.

To reward the farm cattle

This practice is widespread in the southern area of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. As the Spring Equinox comes, farm work starts and both the farmers and the cattle become busy. Farmers will reward animals with sticky rice balls to express their gratitude. Meanwhile, people will make a sacrifice to the birds, to thank them for bringing warnings and also in the hope that they won't eat the grain later in the year.

To glue the beak of sparrows

According to the custom, peasants will eat tangyuan, sweet dumplings stuffed with black sesame paste. Meanwhile, they will place some unstuffed tangyuan on sticks around the crops, for the sparrows. This way, the farmers hope the sparrows will eat the tangyuan and get sticky beaks, leaving them unable to eat the crops.

Traditional food

Ludagun

According to the old tradition of Beijing locals, when the Spring Equinox falls, people are supposed to eat Ludagun to avoid evil and pray for good fortune. Ludagun is made from millet flour or sticky rice stuffed with red bean paste. The Ludagun is then rolled in sesame seeds, as the seeds look just like a cloud of dust raised by a donkey rolling on the ground. Thus, Ludagun is known as “Rolling Donkey”.

Spring vegetables

Eating spring vegetables during the Spring Equinox is a common custom in many regions of China. Spring vegetables refer to wild edible leafy greens. In China, people believe that eating wild greens helps them stay healthy.

Sun cake

During the Spring Equinox, Beijing locals traditionally offer sacrifices to the God of Sun. The "sun cake", a round cake made from wheat and sugar, serves as the main offering. During the Spring Equinox, locals will buy sun cakes and place them to the center-right of the table, to express their gratitude to the God of Sun. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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